Pop. Mech. article on SWAT raids, no-knocks, militarization of the police

Pop. Mech. article on SWAT raids, no-knocks, militarization of the police

This is a discussion on Pop. Mech. article on SWAT raids, no-knocks, militarization of the police within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I just got the 2/07 issue of Popular Mechanics out of the mailbox, and went immediately to one of the cover stories -- "SWAT Team ...

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Thread: Pop. Mech. article on SWAT raids, no-knocks, militarization of the police

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Post Pop. Mech. article on SWAT raids, no-knocks, militarization of the police

    I just got the 2/07 issue of Popular Mechanics out of the mailbox, and went immediately to one of the cover stories -- "SWAT Team Overkill," by a guest columnist named Harlan Reynolds.

    It's not really in-depth -- only two pages -- but it raises the most common, valid points about the dangers of SWAT-ization of police forces:

    - police are not supposed to treat the People as the Enemy
    - it is the military that is supposed to have an "us against the enemy" mentality
    - too much can go wrong, from entering the wrong house on a mistake, to erroneous information given by informants, and result in needless injury or death to the occupants of "the wrong house"


    He says near the end that, "Police raids should be videotaped in an archival format that discourages tampering. And I think we need legal reform, too. Police who raid the wrong house, or fail to give homeowners adequate warning except in what are truly life-or-death situations, shouldn't benefit from official immunity."

    Hear hear.

    These days, cameras are mounted on everything, even small remote control aircraft. There seems to me no reason why every raid should not be videotaped, if not by the entry team itself, then by officers outside the premises looking in. (But really, there's no reason they couldn't mount cams on the PASGT helmets they wear on the raids.)

    What do you think?

    Their link: CopSoldiers


  2. #2
    Member Array Nate's Avatar
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    Here's the direct link: http://www.popularmechanics.com/tech...w/4203345.html

    Reading now.

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    excellant article, and all very true. Good find.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    It sounds like a good idea. It works in the police cars. every thing up front and on tape says it all.

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    All the professional raid teams I have worked with or worked on does this. We tape prior to, during, and after we leave. The author needs to do a little reseach before he attempts to stir the pot. This is a non issue.

    The change in L.E. appearance is a direct response to the criminal element. As crimes become more and more violent, so does the response. 25 years ago, no one had an M16 in the cruiser, now your under equipped if you do not. Its a change with the times, and a direct response to society. I would much rather be Andy, but I've become a soldier out of need.
    Last edited by SIXTO; January 19th, 2007 at 11:19 AM.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Another thing is that all warrants require the signature of a Judge, and special permission - with articulable special circumstances - is required for a "no-knock" warrant.

    Everyone makes mistakes; unfortunately when these mistakes happen in rooms filled with armed people, they can be tragic. I sympathize with the victims of police mistakes, and I agree entirely with videotaping high-risk, no-knock, and any other "SWAT" warrant service or entry operation. However, I ask you all to remember that for every innocent 90 year old woman behind that door, there are dozens of REAL bad guys. Officer safety should always be the guiding principle, once the decision has been made to go in.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    OPFOR brings up a good point... there is a lot more to serving a warrant than just kicking in doors. There is a whole lot of leg work to put your case together, get signed off by a judge, and then the warrant service.
    Once it is served, you have already completed your case for the most part, your just looking to make a strong case a homerun. In some cases to get drugs/weapons or recover other evidence.
    I hear a lot about "No Knock" warrants... mostly it is all myth. The no knock warrant just means that L.E. isn't going to tell you they are coming in.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    - police are not supposed to treat the People as the Enemy
    They don't. They treat the criminals like the enemy because they are the enemy.

    - it is the military that is supposed to have an "us against the enemy" mentality
    Militaries kill, police arrest. Sometimes militaries arrest, sometimes police kill. Goes along with the territory. Police would rather arrest. They use an overwhelming show of force to try and scare the criminal(s) into surrendering without incident, which is the end goal: everyone is safe, bad guys in jail.

    - too much can go wrong, from entering the wrong house on a mistake, to erroneous information given by informants, and result in needless injury or death to the occupants of "the wrong house"
    This is few are far between. In over 90% of SWAT call outs there is not one shot fired. This is the way it is supposed to be. However, you can't control everything and mistakes do happen.


    from the article: Jasper, Fla.,—with 2000 inhabitants and two murders in the past 12 years—obtained seven M-16s from the federal government, leading an area newspaper to run a story with the subhead, “Three stoplights, seven M-16s.”
    I am willing to bet they weren't M16 (full auto). I bet even if they were, they were converted to semi-auto as most LEAs do.

    from the article: Dress like a soldier and you think you’re at war.
    Um, no. They wear body armor as protection from the criminals they are going to arrest in case the criminals try to kill them, the cops can go home to their families.

    from the article: It used to be that police came to the door, announced themselves and, once a homeowner responded, entered the premises.
    Now we have meth labs that are very dangerous, criminals that have quite a collection of guns and aren't afraid to use them. Cops that knock on criminal's doors usually get shot at. How many criminals answer the door when a cop knocks? Not too many, as they are stashing the drugs or flushing them down the toilet, handing out guns to their homies in preperation to kill officers.

    It is funny how these nutjobs criticize police tactics and support going back to "the old ways" but don't want to pony up and go do their jobs for a change. Hand the journalist a pistol and a vest and tell them: "Ok we got 5-6 gang members in here. We know one has AIDS, so don't get cut. One of them did 20 years for killing a cop and shooting three others. They are heavily armed as we have video evidence of them making a buy of some full auto ak47s and mac10s. You got your pistol and your vest so that should be all you need. Ok, go knock on their front door and tell them the police are here. Go get 'em, Tiger."

    This whole militarization of the police is just like human caused global warming: steaming pile of BS.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    "Ok, go knock on their front door and tell them the police are here. Go get 'em, Tiger."

    Exactly.

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    Knock, Knock

    Even with the "No Knock" they still get at least one knock.


    http://images.chron.com/content/news...09/11/kat3.jpg
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    It certainly is true that there are situations that require aggressive violent tactics from police officers. However, while these situations stand out, this sort of response should not be employed lightly or frequently. Please understand, I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone here or suggesting that paramilitary police units have no purpose. They most certainly do, but because of their need for aggressiveness, they must be even more purposeful and careful in their operations.

    Regardless of how many successful incidents SWAT resolves, those that are cases of mistaken address or overkill (to make a dark pun) need to be held to much higher standards of review and liability than any other police operation. When your actions can result in the death of an innocent person, you can't afford to be wrong. This principle should apply to SWAT and LEO's just as it does to CCW holders. I know mistakes can be made, but that doesn't make them excusable or less severe.

    I do think SWAT units need to be more cautious and employed less readily, though they still definitely have a purpose. As I said before, I don't believe that it's ever acceptable to mistakenly target someone for this level of force or use it where it is not necessary, no matter how many times it is used correctly.

    I'm sure this map is familiar to many of us, but I think it's relevant to the thread. I'm sure there are many units that are used only in proper situations and are not represented on this map, but that doesn't make up for the ones that are.

    http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

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    When you have a human element to anything, you will have errors.
    The errors come from both side of the fence.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    If I am not mistaken, SWAT only does the tactical entry and secures the location on information given by the investigating officer(s). It does not perform the investigation itself. So, the cases of brutality/mistaken identity/location are most likely to be blamed on the shoddy work of a cop who did not do its job properly. We had a case down here not too long ago where a young man ended up dead because SWAT was told he was and armed and dangerous drug dealer. When SWAT went in, the man, hearing the conmotion went for his gun probably thinking he was being a victim of a robbery-invasion and ended shot and killed by the SWAT team.
    Later the info came out that he allegedly sold or gave somebody else a joint but only less than an ounce of pot was ever found in the house. This alleged drug dealer worked as a server/bartender in a local bar and had to take public transportation because he had to sell his car to help his mother pay the mortagage and both of them were literally scrapping by (facts that I am guessing were never told to the SWAT team). The armed and dangerous part was because the man's background check showed that he had a CCW permit.
    If I was one of the SWAT members that served that warrant, I'd be inmensely mad at the investigating officer for making me shoot sombody who was not a dangerous hardcore criminal.
    In cases like these, I can't blame SWAT but I do blame the investigating officer and I think he should be arrested and tried for manslaughter and violation of the victim's civil rights. A crappy cop doing crappy police work gives the rest of the force a very bad and undeserved reputation.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    In cases like these, I can't blame SWAT but I do blame the investigating officer and I think he should be arrested and tried for manslaughter and violation of the victim's civil rights. A crappy cop doing crappy police work gives the rest of the force a very bad and undeserved reputation.
    That's a good point, and I think it drives home the idea that SWAT units should be used only when there is no other option, and their use should be carefully reviewed, as much to ensure they weren't employed reckelessly as to review the actions of the SWAT officers themselves.

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    Member Array soundwave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freakshow10mm View Post
    ...tell them: "Ok we got 5-6 gang members in here. We know one has AIDS, so don't get cut. One of them did 20 years for killing a cop and shooting three others. They are heavily armed as we have video evidence of them making a buy of some full auto ak47s and mac10s... This whole militarization of the police is just like human caused global warming: steaming pile of BS.
    OK, this is where I'm going to interject a little here. I completely understand when there is an instance of a situation like the one mentioned (above), but those are very few. Many of the SWAT deployments in my area and others involved warrant services and this is where I have a problem with it. Barricaded subject, etc., have at it. But, many times SWAT is deployed for warrant services where there the target is known to have a handgun or a shotgun...

    That's it, no arsenal, no "homies" hanging around the house. I'm sorry, that's a little much to have a no-knock warrant, force entry with a ram, use flash bangs, break out windows and have a team of 15 enter with select-fire arms to serve a warrant given that circumstance -- yet it is becoming a routine thing nationwide. It makes no sense to have all of that for something that a rank-and-file LEO and his partner are taking into consideration when they do a misdemeanor service.

    As far as M16's, and all the other "tactical" things that rank-and-file LEOs carry in their trunks (mind you, not on them), that I consider standard equipment nowadays. Let me just remind those that think they shouldn't have it of that bank robbery in California with the full autos. That to me makes sense. Using a "overwhelming show of force" for a warrant service that would not be any more of a threat to a patrol LEO is a little out of line. We're not talking about the Arian Nation training camp arsenal, we're talking about someone who shows in the LE database as purchasing a .32 or other handgun from a pawn shop in the past 10 years.

    Now before anybody jumps down my throat, I'm not advocating getting rid of SWAT. What I'm saying is that when you use military tactics against people that have the same capabilities of a patrol LEO it's a bit much. If the person the warrant is to be served upon has suspected capability anywhere near or comparable to SWAT, have at it. But not for something like a handgun which is becoming more and more common as a "potential violent" warrant service.

    Cheers.

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